KUALA LUMPUR: While many eatery owners are taking the smoking ban seriously, adherence to the plastic straw ban is still lacking in many food outlets.
Checks by The Star at several locations in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya found that restaurants and eateries have their no-smoking signs displayed prominently.
No smokers were found puffing away near the eateries and no ashtrays were found on the restaurant tables.
A man who worked in an economy rice shop said his manager had told him not to smoke near the restaurant.
“He made sure that I lit up a distance away, ” he said.
It was a different story when it came to straws.
Many patrons at the food outlets were seen to be still using straws when enjoying their beverages.
A woman who worked in a hawker centre said while there had been no smokers there, people’s attitude towards the plastic straw ban had not yet changed.
She related how a customer had once even used up multiple straws just for his one drink.
“I personally support protecting the environment – ever since the 1990s.
“I have cut down on the use of straws and plastic bags.
“However, it’s hard for us when the customers still expect straws. Some people’s mindsets are still fixed, ” she said.
Another man who owned a restaurant brought up the issue of the cost of switching to paper straws.
“A paper straw would cost me nine sen each whereas a plastic straw would only cost me one to two sen each.
“We as restaurant owners are trying to cut down our use of plastic but it will take some time to adjust, ” he said.
Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said the smoking ban was a welcome move as the restaurants’ environment would be friendlier for families and children.
He said when the ban was first introduced last year, business at eateries had suffered initially.
He, however, said that there were still errant smokers who flouted the law by smoking in the restrooms of the restaurants.
“We put up no-smoking stickers at the toilets but a few of them still do it – so we don’t know how to handle that sometimes, ” he added.